However, all this excitement that continues to make "status updates" go overboard in facebook have me thinking about something...(Oh, and John..thanks for letting me borrow some sermon points you used the other day..) Is there any substance behind all this talk? Well, sure everyone wants their team to win! Also, many of us who cheer for their team are Alumni, so when you are in debt up to your eyeballs with student loans, of course, you desire victory. Maybe even some have family ties to the school...and the list goes on. But here's the deal...Every Saturday we wake up entrusting in our athletes for victory, we have the boldness to discuss it with anyone and everyone, we sit in front of the television hours prior to the game to here an examination of the teams from ESPN analysts, and then we become emotionally involved in the game.
Ok, let's take a look at scripture and all those previously bolded words I mentioned:
Scripture: 1 Thess 2:1-12
Bolded words: Entrusting, boldness, examination, and emotionally
Point 1: Entrust
The scriptures begin with Paul saying, "look guys we came to you for a reason, with a purpose, not in vain". Verse 4 says, "for we speak as messengers approved by God to be entrusted with the Good News. (my John would insert "GOSPEL" for the words "Good News") This is true. We have been given the Bible, the Gospel, his thoughts, his words, his teachings. Do all of us take pride in having it available to us? I find myself questioning my own question. The Bible is lying around on many coffee tables, many doctors offices, many night stands, but, do we use it as a resource... Remember, I mentioned college football earlier? We trust those players are the best someone can ask for. They are the "cream of the crop", we expect them to play perfectly. However, we can't see each of them perform in practice everyday, we don't know if they have done well or not. Now, we could go watch each player and critique them as they practice the week before a game and probably have a better understanding of how their performance may turn out on Saturday, but without that knowledge, all we do is trust they are putting forth their best effort. Well, when you have access to the Word of God, but don't invest in what your being entrusted with, how will you ever know truth?
Point 2: Boldness
What is it about boldness? Courage, maybe. Verse 2 also says "God has given you the courage, the boldness to speak the Gospel...or Good News." We have no problem sharing opinions in this nation. All of us have them, some proclaim their own louder than others, but whomever is reading this is thinking of something they are passionate about right at this moment. When we are passionate, we are bold. If we are passionate, we are probably knowledgeable, because whatever it is, consumes our thought life. We must first have a desire to seek God's word. Then we will become passionate about him and his words. The authority of Jesus has been given to us, yet, we seem to forget. Entanglement of life's problems and "let downs" consume us until the only thought we have is disappointment. James tells us in Chapter 1 verse 3, "For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow, so let it!" Let God teach you, he has already given you the authority, now allow the Holy Spirit to move in you.
Point 3: Examine
Everyone likes to examine the other football teams plays, yardage, injury list, etc. However, unless your season is perfect, no one likes to call up the "skeletons in the closet." Meaning: your own stats. Is tough. Sometimes it hurts. Maybe it brings about disappointments. A lot of emotions can develop, maybe even some on the positive side. But when examination takes place, weaknesses are revealed. Verse 4 in 1 Thess. Chapter 2 says He, meaning God, examines the motives of our hearts. It's not about someone else's gossip review, it's about one review and opinion: Christ. We should take the responsibility to make sure our words and thoughts are pure. I am human. Of course I don't wake up with a perfect dialogue for the day. We are filthy sinners and find it easy to analyze others. I do it constantly, and probably many of you can relate, especially women, right? But not only do we examine our lives, but what are our motives daily? Why do we do what we do? God knows our hearts. It doesn't matter what our appearance is, how we sound, or the career path we choose, if we are self-seeking it's all going to be done in vain. Emptiness. The thought of this happening is fearful. Don't we all desire for our lives to count? Then, we must become real, and live it out.
Point 4: Emotion
Sorry girls, but something else that plagues us. haha! Kidding. Well kind of. :) We are super emotional creatures. But when is our emotion most evident, when our passion is being attacked. Maybe it's a relationship, career position, etc. Paul states in verses 12 of Chapter 2, "we pleaded with you, we encouraged you, we urged you to live a life pleasing to God...for you are called to share his glory and kingdom." Where is our passion? Clearly, in scripture is our encouragement and challenge. We must believe with our heart. God is real. His word is real. His desire to en-dwell our hearts and change our lives with the Gospel is real. We cannot allow our lives to continue with just an emotional encouragement, apply his words.
Now that I am about to post this...I never look over and read for grammatical errors. Why? Because, I feel the need to change or examine what I have written. I don't want to. So what if I have misspelled a word...the only thing that matters to me is that something I have said massages your heart enough to make you more hungry for the gospel.
I have to say hearing John preach on this scripture helps me to evaluate my life, and challenged me to seek out Christ for my own. It's not about what someone else says, it digging in for your own knowledge and desire to spend time with our God. So thank you John for supplying me with some "points" and I look forward to continually growing in scripture with my God and with you together seeking him...